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Death penalty opponents in Calif. appeal to state budget concerns, saying it's too costly

Death penalty opponents in California are trying a new argument this year: Abolish capital punishment because the perpetually cash-strapped state just can't afford it.

Voters in the state with the nation's largest death row will decide Tuesday whether to repeal the death penalty. California has spent about $4 billion since capital punishment resumed in 1977, yet just 13 inmates have been put to death.

Proponents of Proposition 34 say any savings could be put toward public schools and local law enforcement. Opponents say the death penalty should be streamlined, rather than abolished.

Eliminating capital punishment would mean that 725 inmates would have their sentences converted to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

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